Monday, December 1, 2014


John Oswald/Grateful Dead
Grayfolded 3LP on black, clear red or clear blue vinyl
Important Records 2014

Let's cut this dirt tracker short. Q: Do you need to hear and possibly purchase Grayfolded, a career-spanning yarn-wad of "Dark Star" takes assembled by Mr. Plunderphonic? A: Surely. Conditional Q: Must it be off six sides of wax? A: Nah. Ask me, which I spose you did, Grayfolded was built with long-playing media in mind. I never did take much liking to the look of the compact disc, but they sound perfectly fine. Tapes tie into all manner of wistful reflection for me, but historically they truly freed recordings artists to compose without fear of [much] compression. Both formats freed the listener from the armchair. Sure, this big beast'll look purdy on a shelf. Even comes with "six 'time maps' which chart the source concerts" for the 105 versions so's you can feel more like a real Head for yer beanie-wearin' copilots. But I reckon if ya'll's in the state of mind that might inspire throwing this on, y'all probably ain't up for babysitting more than the aliens what just landed in yer laps. (Not to mention there's a map in the OG double-CD set, too. And one coulda fit nicely in a tape box...say, to be released on the tape imprint Important just restarted?) So why didn't they make this set stackable so you ain't gotta flip 57 times? Probably because younger folks don't know that's an option so it'd just confuse or worry em. So here we are.

If you ain't heard it yet, of course do so before you drop the asking ducats. Yer ears are in for a harrowing couple hours. Shit veers all over the Spacetime Hwy, from cascading ribbons of dusty night light; to krauty choogle; to stereo-panned MIDI dronemares; to stuff you could easy slide into one of them Youtube "shred" videos, no lie. They were, after all, the Sonic Youth of their day: your spoonful of outland comes with a heaping bowl of grueling. So maybe this is the right format after all: you gotta suffer to get your sanook.


Jacob's Reunion
s/t LP 1975
Chelsea House Records

Ain't seen much circulated bout this Vermont private folkie. Ain't much to gander at neither. Then again, VT ain't famous for its PR. Sure, they'll pass you a joint and a big hoppy beer the moment your big toe's over line, but you gotta put it there yer damn self. And if'n you didn't know that were gonna happen, why would ya? VT's got half the mystique or grandeur of Maine and twice as much smack as Western Mass. But it did have a wind harp once, and an LP to prove it. And it still has Greg Davis, NNA Tapes, and the Weisman bros, among others. (And those first two Mary McCaslin LPs ain't a bit hateful!) But goddamn yo, the back blurb sounds straight off a flyer for the loneliest county fair:
"original music created under the influence of Gaelic, Easter European, and Classical traditions; Jazz and Swing; and North American dance tunes and songwriting"
Ooof. Don't that smart worse than that Indian rub you got that runny-nosed girl in the 2nd grade? But somebody what knows a thing or three about regional weirdness up here told me this was in the Michael Hurley spectrum, so I signed up. I wouldn't continue the Hurley meme myself. I reckon there's more of a Fraser & Debolt/Allegra's Music from the Heartlands vibe. These young farts at play ain't as out as the former (if only) nor as desanguinated as the latter (thumbs up for that), but they all share the same creaky floor. If I tell ya the pianist and fiddler get downright proggy (and even, gulp...modal?) at times, would you throw yer boot at me? Cuz I mean it kindly. Ain't no smartenin' up old timey music here; just some folks gettin proper weird with it, like sharin' a bowl with yer great aunt. A few of the more trad cuts made my tone arm bay like a lonesome pup, but their spooked-out, searching take on "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" more than compensates. It frankly turns the OG version into a smear of sepia grain. "Mexico" and the latter half of "Give The Fiddler a Dram" are also plenty worthy. So give the awkwardest state in New England a gander now and again. Go holler down a gorge or get yerself a Creemee or something.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

THE LANTRIFIED GENTRY: Stefan Jaworzyn on Kye

Stefan Jaworzyn
The Annihilating Light LP
Kye Records KYE 28

Mostly in-situ synth affair from Ascension/Descension/Skullflower and [recently reheated] Shock label figurehead Stefan Jaworzyn. My relation to the man began when I was a middle school outlier, unwrappin' a copy of Sauter/Dietrich/Moore's Barefoot In the Head on his aforementioned label and puzzlin' bout (in the way we use-ta in the pre-Internet era) why it was so hard to find anythang else on that imprint (read: as a 13-year-old pro-loner in a know-nuthin' town). Apparently, I wasn't alone in my wonderings and disappoint, cuz Shock releases ran cold as the streams offa Blood Mountain but moments after hittin' pavement for most of the label's salad days. Later on, a crew of leather'd longhairs with manually-enlarged earlobes chucked Form Destroyer by Skullflower in my general direction and lo a whole scope of scuzzy possibilities appeared--not the least of which was the wealth that is the Broken Flag imprint. And then I learnt he was all up in Whitehouse, too. (Hell, Stefan even "gave away" the bride at the Lambkin-Hoyos wedding, according to a recent interview I read offa my scribblin' screen.)
Then time passed and somehow I got him confused with Stephan Mathieu from Main et al. for a minute, which'll, to all y'all, either make a weird kinda sense or cast light on how much my brain resembles the moth-bitten basement with a French drain (i.e. a channel for the ass-end runoff of a river kept alive cuz some Confederate general watered his horse in it--long enough ago that there was such a beast as a Confederate general ta begin with and, yeah, in that part of These United...) that once propped up an ol' "house" of mine. 
I disambiguated alla that when I found out Mathieu had released a record of e-Bow'd autoharps or some such wad of keech years back and realized it couldn't be the same dude. So...

"Oasis of Filth" (aka Side A) is a squalid onsen of looped 1/4" adapter bumps and roof drizzle. Much as I am reminded of Moon's Milk-era Coil (speakin-on the Shock label...) throughout this record, there is something of the latter-day tendency [in longform noise-lineage musics] toward cycle/repetition w/o rhythm in this spring-reverb'd bongwater spill that puts me at least a lil in mind of the Richard Youngs aesthetic. The humidity and all-'round menace to the simmers herein continue to steam my living room on repeated listens.
Side B, on the other hand, I'm at odds with. Much as I think it would pair well with Tietchens's "Teilmenge 33A" in its manic itchiness, I don't think it holds its own without, as ol William Carlos Williams woulda said, another track lighting it.
Still, an intriguing chapter in Jaworzyn's career. If'n you need a refresher course in the depth and breadth of the music of his youth, the Kino series of heretofor-unreleased Skullflower on his Shock label shit'll get ya right and sorted.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Rob & Stefan
Manic Guitar Sessions, white cassette edition
Albert's Basement

This collection of unreleased electric/fretless electric duets from the Christchurch in the early 90s took a few flips to finally catch me, but now it's unspoolin' just fine. Something clicked when I read the frets in Stefan's guitar were removed manually; threw a weird and wonderful light on things. The accountant's version of this affair (Oh, you mean the "you had to ask" segment. --Ed.) is that it's a clutch of half-in-the-bag "jams" from a coupla blokes clearly keen on D Boon, early twitchy surf instrumentals, and mid-seventies Magic Band. That's a fine enough tipple for me, and they certainly don't kowtow toward any specific longitude, but what don't quite add up is whether this bears the akimbo worldview of classic 80s Kiwi indie intentionally, by osmosis, or just cuz that aura comes free with purchase of a 4-track in those parts. Havin' no bio for either of these folks, I'm gonna assume it's just in the air, or my brain fillin' in the Mad Lib blanks my ears done carved. In the end, this is best viewed as a document of a working relationship with a set of legs I hope took 'em somewhere further than a living room and the two blocks to the nearest licka sto'. There's promise in these reels.

Thread Bare 7" 45rpm
Albert's Basement

Looped, layered 'n chanted sound poem smoke-out from who the fuck knows. Seems to have been shadowed by the same fog what drizzle-dropped on Elklink, Klyd Watkins, and those haunted/silly vocal bits on the first Fraser & Debolt. Ya can just feel the wispy white webschapstick collected at the corners of their lips. As is the case with the aforenamechecked, "terse" and "effective" be neck-to-neck. Thankfully, the format allows Moffarfarrah just enough footage to eep, wheeze, gasp, and chew the scenery to get the business did. "To everyone who has lived," may be the most inclusive dedication in art history. Really, dude? Errybody? From Pol Pot and an drunken mechanic from Des Moines to your downstairs neighbor and the rest of every phone book everywhere ever? Ain't nobody that forgiving.
Plays at 45, but a drop to 33.3 adds a moany, Halloween element I'd be remiss in leaving out. Pairs suitably well with the recent reish of Preggy Peggy's snort-n-giggle-fest, recorded in a rental car, A Short Visit to the City That Bleeds, if'n its runnin' time leaves you jonesin' mightily.

Untitled 7" 33.3rpm
Albert's Basement

I do so heart a handmade sleeve and mine (which differs wonderfully from the above snap) has all the fingernail-chipped marker blots of a well-aged elementary school textbook. As for the sounds contained, Matt Earle is involved. For some that may suffice or cast light. For the rest of the world, Side A is a long walk off an amp pier; how the highway feels when my pickup truck is hungover. Side B casts a bit more light on this amiable mess, via an alternating throb with a sinus infection, a wounded cymbal and the occasional mumble evaporatin' outta the kitchen sink grit trap. Anthems for listless 4am navel lint extraction. Muura appeared on the staggeringly thorough Feral Flotsam 2xcass comp the following year and on the seminal Breakdancing the Dawn back in the CD-r epoch. Your guess is as good as gunk.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Good Area
Cubic Zirconia/Bad Karlshafen 7"
Kye Records KYE 707

Another dislocatin' transmission from this pair of Philly loons and, again, I sprint to confess a major deficiency in comprehension regardin they mindset. And I seen 'em live, in the flesh, in a musty basement even! What I can say is, fear not: they still ekin' out (read: eek!-ing out) a courageous existence in the disused factory district of the Philippe Blanchard prefecture, shacked up somewhere between F-rants and the Durchschnittsanfall comps, and makin' din outta whatever bits layeth around that be neither garment nor utensil (and don't quote me 'bout the latter). FF-garbled recitations, busted/dusted trumpet, tin drum machine and tabletop guitar are all hoovered up in the slipstream of a garbage truck with no air-brakes. (Incidentally, do trashmen in Philly still tie, like, teddy bears to the front of their trucks? Am I makin' that memory up?) 
Look, I know what you're thinkin', lookin' at the format of this release and the answer is no. Just cuz this thang is less than half the run-time of the French Antarctica LP, don't mean shit's gotten reined in like a mule for the plow, or simplified to harvest support from the ADHD crowd. No, sir. It just means each and erry one o' dem slender grooves is double-stuffed with abandominiums fulla cracked aural notions. It's like the Swill Radio catalog compressed into black hole spaghettini.
I ain't heard much of the tape they put out last year on their Vitrine imprint (nor more'n a sip of Debris Music neither, as I blink too slow for the 21st century), but I'm inclined to believe there mightcould be some Vanilla Records/early RRRecords-type buzz-harshin' above and beyond up they sleeves, too. Either way, my ears is cocked.
Insert is a scan of the receipt for the fish used for the front and back cover, I presume. Nice touch. How this thing is still available, I could not tell you. Highly recommended.

HYPHEN-AIDED: Rodman Melchior Melchior Rodman

Letha Rodman Melchior/Dan Melchior
Rodman Melchior Melchior Rodman split c-70
Fabrica Records FAB026; also available from Dan's store

I'm a broken record bout these two, fer sure, but that don't mean I gave this tape the once over and filed it straight away. I been soakin' both sides up for weeks now, revelin' in the overlaps in their respective approaches--not to mention alla the curious deviations. Firstly, we can sort out the former. What pervades the whole affair is what I'mma call "indoor music by outdoor people": instrumentation gets brushed by itchy radio mosquitoes and record loops all aquiver; sections get dipped in dub wells deep as lunar lakes; and there are visitations of the physical world, like passing storms (that become applause?) and avian chitchat. And, naturally, they play on each other's sides. But the moods on the whole feel distinct. Letha's cuts, which weave in and out with piano ellipsis that bring to mind the plaintive calls of ancient Swedish pastoral music and the lamp-lit solitude of Inoyama Land's Danzindan-Pojidon, run thru powerful cycles of diminish and renewal; exhaustion refreshed by dark humor. Near the end of her side, there's a tellin' lil snippet of a nurse or doctor's aide talkin' bout contact numbers that breaks off into the closing of the head melody. It just about sawed ya boy in two.
Shapes appear and recede on Dan's side, too, but the vibe is way more cerebral. I ain't talkin' stiff recitations of form or underground rock ratiocination. His longer works of late feel like a walk through dismantled spaces, like the edges of cities: the haunted underpass beneath Franco Falsini's Naso Freddo; the blinking, anxious intersection of VU, The Decayes and Pärson Sound. Things alternate between unglued, mystified guitar passages of brain basement blowouts and synth-coated mood bridges. Letha's music is full of windows, shifting daylight; Dan's with hallways, occasions for meeting.
All around some of the most moving, courageous and enveloping work from both parties and made all the more fascinatin' and puzzlin' when experienced in tandem. How they do it under the circumstances continues to stagger my feeble dome.


A Band Called Life
s/t 7" 45rpm

Pull out yer copy of Vibing Up the Senile Man, soak it in Quakersol for a week and leave it behind a bus station, retrieve it once caked in the fond of a wet summer and what ya get is the single I got sittin right 'ere. Straight up rotted gunk oozed outta Karl from Hammering the Cramps and a few names I don't recognize. The words--ranted, layered, and strewn like a cardboard box shredded in a rainstorm--speak obtusely of fuck buddies and deep paranoia. Then they play train conductor for a bit before dragging Santa's sleigh by the short and janglies into the woods for a twisted ceremony, singing "everything is naturaaaal...electricity is naturaaal...just like the tennis..." all the way. The final track is almost affectionate and almost normal, but not without its teeth. Hoo lawdy, if I wern't havin' a round while this spun, I'd be hurtin' for one after. Which is to say, I'm into it! Transmissions from the Gulf seafloor of pop music; case of the bends free with purchase. 
Still to be found in distros in the US or direct from the label.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Morning and the Sleepy Kids
Songs 2004-2007 cassette
Alberts Basement 2010

Working my way thru the back catalog of Albert's Basement, I find this right-charmin' lil compendium of bedsit indie pop. Thankfully, this stuff is way less emetic than some of its contempos and predecessors in that it skips the MASH note-type emotional galaxy and goes right for the burned-out high school junior carvin' sad admissions in a shredded notebook sittin' on the hood of a Honda dimension. We all need to hang with that kid from time to time and these past few weeks seemed ripe for it round here. Nice, humid, dusty ashtray recording helps, as does a cover of "Cryin" that's at least as good as the one the glue fiend in Gummo mumbles to his buddy. Dub some for your friends, but file betwixt Cannanes and the Southern Comfort 7".

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DETOURN TO SENDER: Jason Lescalleet

Jason Lescalleet
Much to My Demise lp
Kye records

In the handwritten all-CAPS liners, Lescalleet commands the possessor to damage their copy in whatever ways they see fit, suggestin they even forgo a poly sleeve; just let age and affection do they work. A tall order for the grip-n-flip eBayboomers, fa sho'; though that ain't me, so I'm finna do my part to degrade this proper. Spring has arrived here--not so much sprung but sproinged haphazardly--so maybe I'll let it sunbake on the patio for a stretch between a coupla busted panes. But first, I'll finish having my last crisp moments with it so I can give y'all the primo needledrop experience.
Side A is just about the most delicate and at times downright sleepytime relaxin' stretch of wax yet dug by Mr Lescalleet; a side so packed to begin with ya gotta crank the receiver just to compensate for the compression. I knows his steez enuff to say he meant it that way and that surely would add to the well-worn G- listening experience. Like Marchetti, he herein does the loud-bits-soft-and-soft-bits-loud right as summer rain, suckin me into the speakers flanked by an antique stethoscope and a looking glass the size of a coffee table. And once I'm down on my hands and knees, the slo-mo mumbles buried within raise all the right hairs on my collar.
The flip on the other hand, a sidelong affair called "My Dreams Are Dogs That Bite Me," (and my track title of the month, if'n you's the accounting type) you could grok with a pair of aural opera goggles. Though it relishes plenty of due pauses (remindin' me of the low groove bits of This Skin Is Rust in their precision), once things blast into firework focus, one is possessed by the sticky heat and the threat of storms like ya oughta be in tape-based longform musics. Maybe it's cuz when I was a tyke resistin' sleep my ma would plop me down on the washer-dryer in my grandpappy's basement (where we shacked up after a failed relocation to Las Vegas) to put me out--that is, if it were too late to discreetly take me out for a drive in the hatchback of a Chevy Celebrity with a rotted muffler. Worked like medicine, I'll tell you what. And as in the sidelong epic that is the B side of The Pilgrim and it's hefty patriarchal narrative, in this I feel both the warmth and lull of a placental brunch and the rush of the birth canal slide into the cold fluorescence of here. Nicely did.
Carved up on porcelain vinyl and already headed for a second press, the damn thang done induced grip-sweats worldwide. Catch em where ya can.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Exit Order
demo cassette
self-released (via bandcamp; download option available)

One of the finer findings upon my trudge back up to the ol Northeast has been what happened to punk and hardcore wholst I was away. Could scarcely find a single soul in ATL what could tell me bout it, or seemed much innarested and who can trust folk on the Internet to point in reliable directions? (Uhh just ignore that. --Ed.) Sure, I dug some of GG King's weird 80s OOP punk leanings, but not only did they seem anomalous down there where most punk comes with the distasteful "garage" prefix, they seemed studied. What else was there? Had alla New England's scene gone the NYC-style knuckleduster kinda awry? Or worse?
If'n what's up in Boston and Western Mass deez days be any indication, not one tiny bit. Maybe it's in the air, or maybe some generous record hoarder type unsealed a crate fulla early-to-mid 80s Finnish, Dutch and Italian OOP raer 7" L@@K singles on the yoots of today. However it happened, I'm clappin' my fins like a fool o'er it. This here demo dusted off my Electric Deads and No Thanks shorties like nothing much else to date. Hell, I can even hang with the lyrics. Hardcore's rigidity of form, even in cases like dis where folks go off the reservation, is such that headway is made at about the rate Japan approaches nationwide feminism. But I'mma snatch up progress whatever way it comes. Maybe one day this whole region can bid adieu to the heshers and headwalkers and get back, as a whole, to this kinda holler n' skree. Here's hopin'.

Catch a stray at

Friday, March 7, 2014

FIDDLIN IN MY DRAWERS: a lost review

Don't rightly know how this shockingly-lucid tidbit never made it to post. Guess it must've fallen behind the typing box machine and into the furious nubbin clutches of the dust bunny armada. Either way it went, here ya go!

The Gerogerigegege
All You Need Is An Audio Shock By Japanese Ultra Shit Band LP compilation
Audio Shock SHOCK1

This best of/discography/compendium of The Gerogerigegege was asked for by no one. Ok, maybe that isn't quite fair. It was probably asked for by many, just as therapy, clean sheets, and a scabies-free household have surely been demanded by similar folks. Why? I can't explain it without visual aides. For the curious among y'all, a superficial Youtube jaunt will yield a slew of karaoke abominations against sobriety, undies, and ear plugs. What you will most likely settle on is a clip of an otherwise perfectly normal-looking Japanese businessman wearing a vacuum hose on his cock, screaming over a cheap drum machine. Genitals will be obscured, because the Japanese would rather imagine the last 6% of the human anatomy than address it even at this level of culture. While All You Need Is An Audio Shock will surely be a wonderful companion piece to these videos, what you'll actually wind up with is a cavalcade of hurried beats and spaceship launches with delayed orgasms, whistles, shrieks and jeers. Essentially, the audio equivalent of Tetsuo the Iron Man starring Alan Vega's crotch, wherein the cheapest of hallucinogens undermine the basest of violent exhibitionism. And that's just Side A! To say the second side is a more "fleshed out" expression of the underlying Gerogerigegege worldview would be technically accurate and utterly insufficient as a descriptor. They're so far beyond such notions that to even try to address this as sticky slough of nihilist performance art is to miss the sampan. And noting the ADHD Century sense of "over it already," The Gerogerigegege has left behind higher brain functions, leaving the bits below the waist at the helm. In short, if the Orwellian notion of humanity is that we're bags to put food in, The Gerogerigegege attitude is UUUUUUNNNNNGGGGG....HHHHHHHHHHHH....AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.....silencio. To beware is to miss the "point," too, but do please beware. This is only Volume 1 of a project started in 1985. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to peel the cat off the blinds.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

FIDELITY CASTRO: Grisha Shakhnes

Grisha Shakhnes
leave/trace LP
Glistening Examples GLEX-1301

With my discounted scotch sittin proper, let's talk tape dudes right quick. There are a shit-ton of em at work around this green world, some content to run the TV in the background and leave us to figger out the motives behind they's smothered mishegas. Some finna conceal they sources like folks stow tacos in they bras on the way into a movie megaplex. Others, the best of the species I reckon, leave just enough murk and squalor as-is and let the rest ride plain as a daylight drive-by; tuggin yer coat with seductive detritus but leaving enough wind and ungreased swingsets on which to stable yer soundholes. Grisha Shakhnes, ya mighta deduced, be in the latter crew. Born in Moscow he now be operatin' outta Tel Aviv (Is there even a regional context for this dude? Alla the Youtube footage sees dude settin' up in a cluttered apt whilst Endtroducing... of all thangs bumps on the stereo). Earlier releases came under the nom de sumpthin-er-other Mites: mostly a grip of CD-Rs and the occasional cut on a comp of drone and [oh the barf I've postponed at the sight of this word] "experimental" shits, but otherwise scarcely catching a quaff of heat outside the relatively small clan of field recording heads. Ya can count me as one, low profile though I be keepin'. Though you mighta also deduced I'm a touch jaded on the whole scene. Like so many thangs in this age, instant grat has lead to underdone loaves ya can just as soon form back into raw dough. And so few of the deserving cats at work in this area is makin' enough raw dough to release reasonable editions for the [admittedly mostly potential] masses.
This is Shakhnes's first release under his IRL handle and hoo boy yo, this is quite the entrance. As anybody what heard the Mites recordings can say, it ain't so much the sourcing but the deft hand workin that there mixer box machine into elevatin' and harnessin' the limited fidelity for maximum heft. I ain't just talkin' what mosta these folks cater in, i.e. texture and atmosphere. Like almost no other ferrous oxide peddler in my Rolodex, Shakhnes reduces music to shifts in volume and fundamental techniques (reversing, bass boosting, overlap, the blush of a good slow fade-in) most overlook for superfluous fireworks or aimless irreverence. It's a tall task but he conquers it like Jerusalem the chickpea. I'd throw some contempo parallels or ideological antecedents in yer maw but instead lemme put it to ya plain: Jason Lescalleet runs Glistening Examples what put this out. That there is stamp of approval and and context all cuddled up and spoonin' together. Most impressive, inspired and inspiring thang in this canon that's graced my house since The Breadwinner. Get at it before errybody else on ya block does samesies.

THE SINGING NONE: One of You discography

One of You
One of You LP compilation
Little Axe LA-009

Finally got to spend an XL chunk of time with this record, comprised of all three of One of You's self-released singles and a whole side of unreleased demos in her native lengua. The anonymous lady behind the name was/is a Czech immigrant to Canada who apparently found the whole experience super-alienating. Made with a tiny organ, some acoustic guitar (on the home recordings), a low voice so small you mightcould fit it in yer fifth pocket, and little else, these songs speak on big thangs that come in frail wrappings, like displacement and isolation. And so frail and slight is the execution, it took a baker's dozen listens to convince me I wasn't playin a pitched down version of Sœur Sourire or the Carnival of Souls score. It seemed to drift by as light as campfire ash. But I hung in, lovin' the befuddlement and admirin' the quiet chill that descended upon my sloppy lodgings every time I dropped the needle anew. If'n the past few reviews is any indication, tis the season of the grow-er not the show-er. For fans of Desertshore, Janet & The Johns, and Księżyc, or any folks lookin for something to unravel.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Primitive Motion
Worlds Floating By LP
Bedroom Suck Records 2013

Apparently my blind spot is bigger than I thought--though, don't hip the RMV to that lil admission. This pretty lil wonder's been gettin more play in the Sniper's Nest (He means his third floor walk-up-the-back-way apartment. --Ed.) than all the current tenants combined-like. It's a convenient historical intersection, too, reminding me in equal parts of HaHa Sound, Essendon Airport and The Limp's Marked Man 7" whilst bein' a thing independent of alla that. Leighton Craig formerly of Lost Domain (or have they not belched their last?), whose LP Unnatural Act I had on the hob for a write-up years ago and let burn well past even the Cajun threshold, and Sandra Selig of Fig. (also co-starring Mr. Craig) on a plethora of audible plunder (asst'd winds, drums, and vocals and cuz this sentence needed more parentheses and ands). Though they've been at it for a few years and have a few albums behind em, it may as well be a week-old project to my oblivious ol' ass. Glad them dark days is done did for me! But, it should be said, the line above about this affair bein' pretty don't mean it's necessarily sittin' that way, too. Up in these grooves also lie the longings and misgivings of the heartbroken, uptempo twitches, and straight up disrobed and spot-lit pain. Which is to say, the reveal you get on the third or fourth go round (hey, it ain't but three-quarters of a hour and lends itself to flippage; you got a packed calendar or sumpthin?), even if them listens was stacked like an indie wrasslin' tournament, is pure reward. This lil' lantern got mad rubs left in it. And it'll be blarin' in my kitchen tonight while I braise collards just like it has all week--and probably will for a minute.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Good Area, Christian Mirande, Patrick Emm, Sophie Dickinson, The Greys
@Smokey Bear Cave, 1/18/2014

A crippling work schedule cooped me up for months, but now they let me get out on occasion to stumble bare-ass through the streets of my early 30s. Ok, I landed two weeks off; at least it wasn't on a dirty mattress under a light bulb, ya know?
Smokey Bear Cave throws a half-grip of shows a month in their otherwise-undisclosable Allston basement for equally small clusters of humans seekin' the gruff, the modular, the warbly, and other assortments of inexplicable clatter and gunge. And fuckin' bravo to that! And a handful did turn out that night, braving the winter's awkward waiting room, to see some locals and a few Philly folks making the New England rounds and playing wherever the beer is recently-chilled and the armrests disturbingly frayed.

The Greys opened, still wet from birth and presenting (like mandrills, though that's pre-mixing metaphors...) their Porpoises into the Fourth World Future of yeah you get it. Field recordings of winged blabbermouths (yeah yeah, it's dawn, we know cuz we're still awake and creepin' yo) cleaned their beaks on hushed hums and synth swells only to run headlong into a screwed copy of "Nothing Compares 2 U" before a few Mexican Summer moments and a timid end. Something to be said for a first-time set that runs under 20 minutes. And that something is promising, if still in admitted infancy. I'm sure I'll be seeing them again.

Christian Mirande, Good Area's touring partner, followed shortly and continuing the cassette moebius relay that enveloped the whole evening. Mirande seemed to have some technical problems midway which kinda skewed my impression of what he was up to. At work before and after were hefty reworkings of what sounded like a cardboard bailer (I heardtell a few of these Philly folks and I both work for the same grocery chain) in the throws of passion and humid, smothering drones that snaked about in lovely, oxygen-depleting ways. Worth a check out.

Good Area came on like Dutch sound poets in the throes of a serious fever and with faint whiff of their fellow Philly resident Code Money's sense of repetition but with taped recitations instead of the "Fresh" sample. Maybe I'm readin' too much into their mishegas. Great fun. The trumpet and shortwave, both aimed at the front row and loud enough to be heard over the PA with nary a bissel of assistance threw the whole set into a galactic sound space Anthony Braxton wished he thought of first. More folks should play the guitar like dude, too; but then again, it'd make it less special and we just can't have that. Welcome rock salt to chapped ears, no matter how dapper the delivery system.

Sophia Dickinson's set of tape recordings, harp and occasional vocals, were small enough to barely be heard in the hollow of a tea cup pressed to yer lobes, let alone whilst disinterested crusties exchanged brags of how much coke they could pack into the filter-end of a Parliament Light met the overhead creak of Converse on rotting stairs. Shame, too, as it warmed our scruffs like welcomin' window candlelight, it did! Forthcoming Feeding Tube release whispers?

Patrick Emm's studious set ended the evening, but thankfully brought a shit-ton hissy warmth and almost-breezy Roland synthwork. A thoughtful middle ground between socially-troubled New Age synth classics (i.e. JD Emmanuel) and Vanity Records tape decay.

Oops! Ran out of beer. Time to skedaddle back into the slush and hush of night. But I'll be back, I said, knowing only the Mass Pike were listenin'.